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Stallan in response to Fraser says ... Glasgow’s no had its tea’

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April 19 2011

Stallan in response to Fraser says ... Glasgow’s no had its tea’
Malcolm Fraser in his Herald article compares the fate of a group of tenement buildings as somehow representative of all that is wrong with Glasgow’s present regeneration efforts.  

John Glenday has asked if I would provide a personal view on some of the issues raised in Malcolm Fraser’s recent comment in The Sunday Herald on the fate of a grouping of existing Victorian Tenements at the bottom of Springfield Road in Dalmarnock.

Very simply the tenements are to be demolished to make way for Glasgow’s 2014 Commonwealth Games Village.  I can confirm however that the existing buildings never at any stage formed part of the Games Village brief as set by Glasgow City Council. The political case for their removal was made by the City’s democratically elected members and officers, a process that none of the consortiums bidding to build the village had any involvement in. The Village site presented to our design team has always been detailed as cleared.

That said Malcolm overlooks the greater social, economic and enabling work that has been progressing slowly in the city for the over 15 years to open up Glasgow’s East End. The greater planning framework for the area for which Dalmarnock is only a small part is transformational!

Glasgow City Council together with a host of community based agencies including Clyde Gateway is working hard to deliver this ‘transformational’ plan.   Malcolm might not be able to find ‘the plan’ on ‘Google’ but the plan exists in many different forms continuously evolving. This plan in all its different forms has one objective ...‘to improve people’s lives’. 

It is my view from direct experience that many people in the City have been working hard for a very long time to deliver improvement in a deep rooted social basis that is ultimately more sustainable than simply considering one tenement block. There are fundamental structural problems in how communities in the East End of Glasgow are integrated with each other, with Glasgow City Centre and the rest of Scotland. To resolve this Glasgow together with the Scottish Government is radically improving the East End’s public transport connections in road, rail and pedestrian linkage to fundamentally unite the larger community and allow for greater access to both education and employment opportunities.    

Spatially the East of the City is therefore being completely reconnected; however this is happening in tandem with an appreciation of the physical form of the existing communities. Tenement gateways at Bridgeton Cross, Parkhead Cross, Springfield Cross and Dalmarnock Cross are being reinvigorated and physically reinforced as local urban centres. The cluster of tenement buildings at the bottom of Springfield Road that Malcolm has narrowly fixed on are socially and commercially more problematic. 

On balance, given the City has little monies, it has I believe been required to prioritise its regeneration efforts to the key townscape features and urban corridors of the East End not to mention school provision. Those that understand recent political history are well aware that if Margaret Thatcher when in power had not redrawn Greater Glasgow’s Boundaries, disengaging the City’s wealthy more conservative suburbs like Newton Mearns, Bishopbriggs, Bearsden and Milngavie, then the City would be better placed financially through Council Taxes to fund more social and urban regeneration. Not just for the sake of Glasgow but for Scotland.
The stark reality is Glasgow faces difficult choices. As a Glasgow rates payer am I am happy to pay for the upkeep of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and the Mitchell Library, understanding that the rest of Scotland has free access whilst schools across Glasgow have zero resources other than those the teachers and parents donate? I am happy to fund through my council tax the Galleries upkeep however I do wish for more equality and for greater recognition across Scotland of where deep rooted poverty exists, regardless of political perimeters and agendas.

Glasgow’s East End regeneration initiative is therefore a Scottish challenge. With male life expectancy in communities like Dalmarnock, Parkhead and Haghill as low as 59, lower than it was in during World War 2, then it is pretty obvious to me that partnership working across all sectors to deliver improvement to people’s lives is required. Personally I wish I could save the Dalmarnock tenements but understanding that there is greater reward in investing in other East End projects to benefit the community then ultimately I understand this is way more sustainable than Malcolm Fraser’s narrow focus.

As for the Games Village itself for some reason Malcolm concludes in his article that RMJM is designing ‘aspirational housing for young people’. (Not sure where he is getting his random quotes as generally does not supply his source ... creative licence). However I would clarify that the Games Village will provide a complete mix of tenure and house type. From care home provision, to market rent, housing association and private for sale the village is focused on providing a complete environment for families to make roots to grow and change and to stay within the location.

In summary we have invested a great deal of time as designers not just in the buildings but in thinking about the design of the streets and landscape, the integration of the car to prioritise the pedestrian, the incorporation of a local shops, where the bus stops are, the creation of a new community centre (which we are working on with the existing local community) and the amenity that the River Clyde frontage presents.  These are just some of the areas that our client City Legacy has taken very seriously and as architects we have addressed in the hope of providing a better quality of life for people in Glasgow’s East End.

Paul Stallan
A row has erupted over the fate of these flats, whose erstwhile residents include Jeremy Paxman's nan
A row has erupted over the fate of these flats, whose erstwhile residents include Jeremy Paxman's nan
In demand family housing will replace unwanted one and two bed flats
In demand family housing will replace unwanted one and two bed flats

10 Comments

Clarion
#1 Posted by Clarion on 19 Apr 2011 at 16:23 PM
Malcolm is far more persuasive.

h.a.
#2 Posted by h.a. on 19 Apr 2011 at 16:47 PM
Where are the planners now? they are terribly worried if I do a window in this or that way in a residential area where nobody can see it, but you can knock down Glasgow's heritage if it's economically interesting. No wonder that Glasgow is internationally considered a rather ugly city. Its people is the nicest I have ever known though
Clarion
#3 Posted by Clarion on 19 Apr 2011 at 17:03 PM
That 'random quote'? Paul Stallan apparently:-
"Paul Stallan, RMJM design director, said it will be an "urban village" reflecting the surrounding landscape. "As you go along the river there's more green space and we have tried to incorporate the river and greenery into the development. The shape of the building will echo the river." The village will have a "green boulevard" with trees, shrubbery and water features. Stallan added: "We want to get rid of the monolithic housing and create aspirational housing for young people. It's going to be as significant to the east end as the Crown Street Initiative will be to the Gorbals."

Paxman house a victim of 2014 bid COMMONWEALTH GAMES: Sunday Herald, Nov 4, 2007 | by Rachelle Money

Clarion
#4 Posted by Clarion on 19 Apr 2011 at 17:08 PM
The entire article courtesy of google:-
"THE Glasgow street that famously brought Jeremy Paxman to the verge of tears after he discovered his ancestors had lived there, is to be demolished to make way for the Commonwealth Games athletes' village.

The Newsnight presenter was featured in the BBC series, Who Do You Think You Are? which saw him trace his great-grandmother Mary McKay to a rundown tenement on Ardenlea Street in the city's east end.

Award-winning Scottish architect RMJM has now released plans and artist's impressions of its vision for the 38.5-acre site in the Dalmarnock area. If Glasgow wins the bid on Friday the village will house 7000 athletes during the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

RMJM director Alistair Brand said his team has been working on the development for two years. "The athletes' village is a major component of the bid and will be a legacy for the city.

The Commonwealth Games is not a three-week event it's going to leave a lot of great facilities and buildings in the city.

"There are 16 different venues throughout the village, including a medical centre, bistros and social areas.

A lot of the fixtures are temporary, so what stays and what goes after the games will be decided during the postgames discussions." The village, which will be twice the size of Melbourne's Commonwealth Games village, will have 1500 units consisting of one, two and three-bedroom flats and some semi-detached houses.

The flats don't have kitchens as there is a central dining area on site, so they will have to be fitted after the games.

Paul Stallan, RMJM design director, said it will be an "urban village" reflecting the surrounding landscape. "As you go along the river there's more green space and we have tried to incorporate the river and greenery into the development. The shape of the building will echo the river." The village will have a "green boulevard" with trees, shrubbery and water features. Stallan added: "We want to get rid of the monolithic housing and create aspirational housing for young people. It's going to be as significant to the east end as the Crown Street Initiative will be to the Gorbals.

"It's incredible how that Victorian template of house planning can still be seen in Glasgow. Victorians decided all the good housing would be built in the west end because the smoke from factories would blow into the east where poor Irish Catholic immigrants lived.

"The tenements where Jeremy Paxman's great-grandmother lived will be pulled down so this development can go ahead. A lot of flats in this area are boarded up and really depressing looking. " In the programme which aired last year, Paxman's face crumpled as he was told his great-grandmother lived with her nine children in a grim, single-end room without running water, heating or lighting. Her husband had died and with no income she was forced to ask for poor relief. This was rejected when an anonymous letter was received by the Parish stating she had an illegitimate child.

An emotional Paxman said: "We just don't know we're born, do we? That's what she chose, she chose to stay with her children. It's an admirable decision." Rob Shorthouse, head of PR and media for Glasgow's 2014 bid, said: "It's a good job he saw Ardenlea Street when he did because it's a goner." Shorthouse said disused tenements in Sunnybank Street, Springfield Road and Summerfield Street would also be demolished.

He added: "I would like to stress that they aren't just being pulled down for the athletes' village; this is part of the regeneration project." After the games, a proportion of the development will be given to the housing association and some will be sold off privately to recoup money for the bid, which has a budget of GBP288 million.

Brand said: "In the worst case, we'll still get 5000 people housed in the development after the games have finished.

"With the demolition of the likes of Ardenlea Street, I think a lot of the local community and housing association are really embracing the idea because it's a step towards regeneration."
Expat Dave
#5 Posted by Expat Dave on 21 Apr 2011 at 08:43 AM
Well, I think the pictures say it all really - demolish something that could be beautiful with a little bit of effort and put up something truly disgusting in its place. As for 'aspirational', who's going to aspire to live in this place when it becomes available. Nobody. How many people aspire to live in tenements in the west end. It always amazes me how architects will defend the indefensible. Do they have no shame?
Peter
#6 Posted by Peter on 21 Apr 2011 at 10:57 AM
RMJM defended (in the most shameful way) the building of its Gazprom Tower in St Petersburg. It's not going ahead only because of the international outrage over spoiling the iconic skyline of a World Heritage Site.

Yes some architects will defend the indefensible, where their egos and cash are involved.

And apparently so will Urban Realm; beautiful stone tenements are not 'unwanted' but people are given no choice. Try renovation, alongside regeneration of the surroundings; people might then aspire to live there.
Auntie Nairn
#7 Posted by Auntie Nairn on 22 Apr 2011 at 13:50 PM
What utter, utter shite!! No amount of polite language can disguise the fact that our 'elected representatives' have nothing but contempt for the built environment. RMJM and Paul Stallan are complicit in this blatant neglect all in pursuit of the next shiny new project, next soundbite, next headline. You don't have to sell your soul to be director of an international architectural practice, but it certainly helps.
matty26
#8 Posted by matty26 on 26 Apr 2011 at 17:47 PM
what happened to the post last week.... i think from someone called DAVE???
he was the only one talking sense, you lot should look forward..... not back!!!
....and whats wrong with being ugly h.a.????
Bunnet
#9 Posted by Bunnet on 27 Apr 2011 at 10:50 AM
Yeah where did that post go ? it was bang on…. Mr Stallans soul is not in question either ... you will never meet a smaller man with a bigger heart and a greater passion for his City and Scotland’s future…. Mr Fraser / Auntie Nairn / Clarion dry your eyes and get your facts right kiddies
MV
#10 Posted by MV on 27 Apr 2011 at 18:23 PM
Nothing has been removed from here. All the comments are still here. All the facts speak for themselves don't they?

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